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tv   [untitled]    May 20, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT

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and that was the conditions in which she was admitted. she was admitted in the summer of 1949. she said she could not have survived at that first summer class had it not been for the white men that helped her at that time. i said men because she was the only african-american at the law school and the only woman in the summer session at that time. the other students would take her outside where the shade trees and the laws did not apply. they shared books and notes with her and helped her to get through the session. from that point on, shoe knew she had gone to get in law school and all the people who contributed so much to enable her to get in law school. once they admitted her job, to get out of law school. it was all on her and successfully completed law school and she did.
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she graduated in 1951 and august of 19 and became a lawyer and in 1992, then governor david walters wanted to seat whole circle closed. he a poibed my mom and african-americans had been an integral part of the education, they are not incorporated into the mainstream and so it was the case. i grew up in oklahoma not knowing a great deal about my mother's case. i knew of the case and knew people treated her differently and special, but i was not getting that affirmation in high school. never studied about it in high school. i knew about it. i grew up hearing my mom talk about giants in her lifelike thurgood marshall. some of these people that she had a dream team of lawyers. i grew up understanding how
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important these people were and she was never bragging about it herself. i was a freshman in college and she asked me to accompany her to a funeral in tulsa, oklahoma. i drove her to the tune ral fun it was for the oklahoma resident attorney. we were standing outside of the church on our way in and i heard my mom said thurgood. then i saw mr. marshall turn around and he grabbed my mom and hugged her and stuff and i said after that was over, i said what was that all about? she told me what it was about. i realized how significant that court battle was. up until then, she was just mom. my friends have been shocked because they learned so much more about my mother since we opened this museum and we talk
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about her and she gets a lot of recognition. up until then, she was just mom and she made the best popcorn balls. how important she is in american history. >> online at you are watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. . >> from the milwaukee meeting of american historians, columbia university history professor and university of iowa history professor linda curber discussed the 14th amendment and the birth right citizenship provision. they argue that birth rights dramatically changed from the better and the provision is unique to the united states. this is a half hour.
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thanks to both of you for joining us. you will be talking about at this conference about birth right citizenship. set the stage for us in what is birth right citizenship. >> in a nut shell, this is the principal that any person born in the united states regardless of the status of their parents and theiran set offers and race and gender and religion and any other category is a citizen of the united states by virtue of being born here. you can become a citizen if you are an immigrant. the important point is this was not a principal that goes to the
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constitution. in the civil rights act of 1866. the first clause of the 14th amendment said any person born in the united states with or two minor exceptions were thought to be citizens of their own sovereignties, but any person born in the united states is a citizen. this was not necessarily the case of the civil war, the most dramatic example was dread scott in which the supreme court stated that no black person could be a citizen. free or slave, born here or not, it didn't matter. citizenship was for white people. the birth right citizenship principal eliminates that said there no other boundaries to citizenship other than birth and the united states. >> this law and the 14th amendment written specifically
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before african-americans. >> yes and no. those laws were written as part of the country to come to terms with the abolition of slavery and to deal with the question of what would the status of these four million freed people be? the 14th amendment does not say anything about race. it does not say anything about black people. it establishes a principal and a universal standard of citizenship which is applied to everybody. it applies to chinese on the west coast and mexican american who is might come in and have a child in the united states. the catalyst is the ending of slavery and the issues that puts on the agenda, but the principal is that is not just limited to black people. >> before the 14th amendment, who was considered a citizen? >> that are carried. there was no national standard. massachusetts insisted that
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people people were citizens of massachusetts, but other states denied that and the supreme court made that a national principal. it depended on the states who was a citizen and what rights they had and one of the purposes is to create this national standard so that you couldn't have all these variations. >> obviously citizenship doesn't mean the right to vote, did it? >> not necessarily and that's why there is a 15th amendment that said no state may deprive a person of the right to vote on the basis of race or national origin or religion. there was a struggle and an effort to put sex into the 15th amendment that said no person has the -- no state may deny the right to vote on the basis of sex. that lost and at that moment
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elizabeth katie stand on in 1870s this was our chance to make sure that the vote is a vote that all citizens will have. if we lose that chance and here she is talking in 1870, she said we won't have it again until 1940. she pulls 1940 out of the thin air and i always felt that that in that way she reaches over into our own time and converses with us about that. >> there wasn't enough political support to put it into 15? >> that's right. people who are drafting the 15th are denying the rights to black people and knew there had been a war over this and people had died and women didn't think had
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died. there weren't enough votes. they tried in fact to count the numbers and count the noses in congress and see if you could do it. it put that particular amendment at risk. women, the opening section of the 14th amendment that starts all persons born in the united states are citizens of the united states in the state in which they live, it said all persons not all white and black men. >> that are would have been the first time they were recognized as being citizens. >> the language. this issate 68. they were being held in a
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barbershop. the only men voted, you put your polls and your registration where the guys are that are in the barbershop. that is already shocking and she attempts to register the vote. in various places she tests. she does vote. >> then is put on trial for illegally voting because women were not eligible to vote and this is a court case. >> the vote doesn't count there. >> it's odd. it's complicated. the judge is afraid. he rules against her, but he refuses to fine her or put her in jail because he is not going to create what that will -- the point is that it was tested. there were women who said leave aside the negatives of the 15th amendment, the positive and the first section since all persons
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are entitled to equal protection of the laws. if all persons are entitled which is towards the end of the 14th amendment and the equal protection, doesn't that include our right to vote? >> with the recognition that the u.s. is an immigrant country, it is a uniquely american idea. >> for has become uniquely american. and they themselves are undergoing a great deal of social strain.
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this is not a country that defines membership through they are part of that population. here no. the principal not always lived up to, but a noble principal is anybody can be an american. doesn't matter who you are and what your background is. if you come and accept the basic principals of the society, you are equally entitled to be an american. >> the issue of birth right citizenship is tested recently. what's the controversy and is this the first time since the passage of the 14th that the
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concept of birth right citizenship has been? >> let me say and linda knows a lot about the current controversies. it is not the first time at all. that was over children of the chinese immigrants. no one to be naturalized. if you were chinese, you couldn't become naturalized. what did that mean about the children of people born here? the courts ruled that it applies to them also. even if the parents could never be citizens, the children are citizens of the united states because of the 14th amendment. >> that are say really -- seems to me a really important decision that we should be teaching in our schools. it's in some ways the proud counterpart to the dread scott
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decision. at the time that they were demanding recognition of his citizenship, there was not only an impossibility for his papers to be citizens, but there was so much anti-chinese sentiment in the united states. this was 1890s. there is just vicious anti-chinese sentiment and some members of the u.s. supreme court personally shared. they issue a opinion that said birth right citizenship is what it was t should do and meant to do. in the debates over the 14th amendment, there is a senator from -- there were several, but one i remember from pennsylvania who said in congress okay, i get it. we are going to make black people citizens. but you don't mean the heathen chinese, do you? the senator from illinois channelling dick durbin said in
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effect, you better believe it. we mean that. because what they understand themselves to be doing and i think this is an important piece of this that has been absent from our current conversation, they understood what the 14th amendment does for this country. a lot of people think of it as a generous act to people who are here and their children get to be citizens. fair enough. it is generous, but it is also what you see in the congressional debates. they wanted to be able to claim the allegiance of everyone who was here. if you are a citizen, then the reciprocal is that the nation can claim your allegiance. the reciprocal is that you don't have to keep track of who was born here and whose parents were born here.
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who is a citizen by birth. when i register my child in school, i bring a birth certificate to show this child was born here. i don't have to bring my mother's birth certificate or grandmother's birth certificate. one of my grandmothers was never a citizen. i don't have to prove -- nobody will question me about that. >> bring us up to date on why this has become such an issue. it was strictly because of immigration or immigration from mexico or central america? >> we may have different views and we have a great deal of anxiety in this country. we have anxiety about a lot of things. anxiety that the economy and about the very different racial mix that we have in this country from what we have h 40 years ago.
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insecurity and one of the ways that insecurity has expressed itself say kind of nastiness and anger and a resentment. >> unfortunately i believe that's correct. yes, the issue has become very closely tied to the question of undocumented aliens and illegal immigrants and whatever you want to call it. in arizona, a state where the anti-immigrant sentiment has been most extreme in politics, they had bills introduced in the legislature to not recognize as citizens the children of people who were undocumented in the united states. that would be a fragrant violation of the 14th amendment and the bills have not gotten that far for that reason, but you see this. senator lindsay graham of south
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carolina who was often considered one of the more moderate members of the republican party in the senate a couple of years ago calling for hearings on whether to change the 14th amendment and get rid of birth right citizenship and changing the constitution is a long cumbersome process and requires approval and 2/3 of congress. it would not likely happen easily, but i think there was also political pandering going on to this sense of anxiety that people who are fearful about the future and their economic stability, it's easy to find a scapegoat. illegal aliens are a very recognizable scapegoat at the moment. >> how quickly was it passed? >> it was written in 1866, passed by congress and ratified in 1868. a lot of historical water passed under the bridge between the two years. the entire overthrow of the president's reconstruction
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policy. it took two years basically from congress to the ratification by the states. >> let me ask you. you write about abraham lincoln. is this a fallout from the union victory in the civil war. is there indication about how abraham lincoln felt about immigration and citizenship? >> there is. even though in his prewar career, even though the know nothings or the anti-immigrant party at that time were quite powerful, lincoln repudiated the views and made it very clear that the basic liberties of the declaration of independence et cetera applied to everybody, no matter what your origin and immigrants were welcomed as part of the american firmament here. lincoln did not panneder to immigrant sentiment.
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as to black citizenship, before the civil war, they were ambiguousuo uouabout that, but attorney general said any black person born in the united states is a citizen. that's before the 14th amend am united states is a citizen. that in a sense said we're not abiding by the dred scott decision anymore. so it was recognized by the lincoln administration before the 14th amendment. so certainly in that era, the civil war itself as linda mentions creates this national n means there has to be one standard for the nation. >> is this sort of when we begin to recognize the nation for the
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immigrants? understanding it began to increase in the nations? >> i'm not sure. i think that comes later. and actually probably during and after world war ii even, when we start taking pride in the mixture of immigrants. let me add one more piece of why it will be very proud. if all persons born in the united states are citizens, then we don't have to -- then their citizenship is stable, and they are not exposed to statelessness. all over the world, one of the aftermaths of this ratcheting in of the rules of citizenship in europe and elsewhere has been the people with ambivalent histories.
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they're not a citizen because the parents are no longer citizens. and they're not citizens of the country in which they land because of its rules. and since the aftermath of the world war ii and the nazis denationalized all the jews and the soviets threw out all the white russians. we have a crisis in this world, in which the world is just flooded with people seeking asylum, with people with unstable nationalities. many of them are children. teenagers who are caught in the cracks. if we destabilize 14th amendment, we will be part of the problem.
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>> although, we do have a considerable number of people in this country, estimated from 10 to 12, 14 million who are in an ambiguous state because they were not born here. and they're in the united states without proper documentation. >> that's right. >> the principle of the 14th amendment means that their children are recognized as citizens of the united states. >> so it stops with one generation. and we hope we can figure out what to do. >> i want to ask you a little bit about the book that you've written on women's rights. women's citizenship. the constitutional right to the ladies. women of citizenship. in publisher's weekly, i was reading some of what they had to say about your book. they say you link the women's exemption from civic duties, such as jury or military service to the denial of women civics rights, such as suffrage, jury by peers, aids, citizenship and
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even her body. explain. what were you aiming for? >> at the time of the founding, the time of the revolution, when at marriage the husband got virtually absolute right to access to the body of his wife. there's no concept of rape in marriage until if feminists of the 1970s put it there. then of course he can control the property. she would have to vote. she would be forced into voting just the way he did. it didn't occur to them that therefore they should take away some rights from him. and make her part of this new world of equality and democracy. and in the old law of domestic relations then the married woman owed her many obligations that we think is civic obligations
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directly to her husband. this doesn't really break down until our own time. the first time that the u.s. supreme court ruled that discrimination on the basis of sex might be a denial of the laws is 1971. and they do don't it on this point until 1973. so our understanding of how women related to the state before that is complicated. it's not the same as when men related to the state. >> this point, to underscore it, it shows you why there was so much opposition to women's suffrage on the part of men. because giving women the right to vote suggests they may have a will of their own, right? they're not necessarily going to vote the same way their husbands want them to. it gives them relation directly
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to the state, circumventing the husband. to us it may not seem like such a radical idea. most countries in the world allow women to vote these days. at the time it was a threat to stability of the family of the male, males being the head of the family. it took many decades to achieve, even though it doesn't seem like a radical idea. at the time, one piece of this is when an american born man married a foreign woman, we go back to citizenship now, she automatically became a citizen. she did not have to be natch lized. when an american born woman married a foreign-born man, she lost citizenship. if his country did not instantly make her a subject or citizen, she was exposed to statelessness. and the u.s. supreme court said in 1915, this is okay. this is okay.
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and when american women got to vote, that the integrity of married women citizenship was one of the key things that they wanted to fix. and when they fixed it. congress would only fix it so that if you married a man who was eligible for citizenship, you could keep your citizenship, but at that time, chinese, japanese, southeast asians. >> you could marry europeans, but you couldn't marry an asian. so american-born women lost their citizenship. grant's daughter had married a -- she had to petition to restore her citizenship. these are ways in which the history of women in the united states, the very grounding of that history has been quite different. >> and although the 14th amendment did a lot to define who is a citizen, the issue of
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citizenship -- well still isn't resolved. you pointed out in something you wrote. for example, asians -- it wasn't until the mid-1960s that the chinese -- well, in 1940, a few -- each country had a sort of quota at that time. and they gave china a quo that of like 100 who could become citizens. that's not a lot. it's really, as you say, the 1965 immigration reform act, which really tries to eliminate racial and national designations. >> you say try. did it actually do that? >> it did in the law. and as you know it, led to a
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pennsylvania as a new immigrant group comes along, it's vilified almost equally. >> yeah, we all know that. we all know that. and i think one of the things i conclude from that or i like to think about is that we have had conflict i conflicting and contested traditions in the united states. and they're difficult to live by. in every decade, in every generation, there's resistance. they have to be argued about. people have to be persuaded of them over and over


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